April 7, 1929 — May 24, 2017
Willard Harrison passed away due to natural causes on May 24, 2017. Born in Mount Olive, North Carolina on April 7, 1929, Bill was 88. He grew up on a farm growing tobacco and corn in North Carolina. His family consisted of three boys and four girls. One brother and two sisters are still living in North Carolina and Maryland.
Bill was a retired master chief (E9) in the U.S. Coast Guard. He was transferred to Astoria in December 1961 for an assignment on the cutter Yocona. His previous assignment was on the buoy tender Sedge in Cordova, Alaska. He transferred to the cutter Whitebush at Tongue Point, where he was until retirement in 1968.
After retirement, he was a first and second engineer on the Salvage Chief, and made several salvage trips. He retired for good in the late 1970s to raise cattle and timber on the Little Walluski farm that he had purchased in 1963. It was a great property to raise six boys!
Bill joined the Coast Guard at the age of 17, right after World War II ended. His first assignment was in New York City. He met his future wife, Catherine, on an excursion to Coney Island. They married in 1947, and remained married until Cathy’s death in 2015, one day after their 68th wedding anniversary.
After an 18-month tour in Guam in support of the Korean War, Bill returned to North Carolina and was subsequently transferred to Boston. After a four-year assignment, including a year of isolated duty at Thule, Greenland, Bill and family moved again to Texas for multiple assignments in Galveston and Port Aransas. He volunteered for a transfer to Cordova, Alaska, in 1959, moving his growing family to, at the time, a very remote location. This assignment lasted two years before moving to Astoria.
An outdoor enthusiast, Bill was always looking for a new steelhead hole. He loved clam digging and elk and deer hunting. Although his family came first, Bill’s passion in his later years was maintaining a greenhouse and garden. He could make anything grow. Cathy had her hands full canning and freezing the results of his labor. There was never an empty table!
Bill is survived by sons Willard Jr. in San Francisco, California, John in Auburn, Washington, Paul in Yacolt, Washington, and Mike in Vancouver, Washington. Dennis passed away in 2016, and Glen in 1980.
Bill was a Mason and member of the American Legion, Post 12.
His cremation was performed by Caldwell’s Luce-Layton Mortuary.